Oct 10 2014

On TV: 10 October 1990, Melbourne

tvextra_071090The second in our occasional series looking at what was on TV on this day in years past.

Today we’re going back to Wednesday 10 October 1990 in Melbourne, as listed in Sunday Sun TV Extra (with Annie Jones on the cover).

Today (Nine) battles out with Good Morning Australia (Ten) for the morning news viewers. Seven and ABC both catering to the youth market at that time of day with cartoons and old favourites Sesame Street and Play School.

Mid-mornings are largely taken up by re-runs on Seven plus the obligatory pre-school program, Fat Cat And Friends. Nine has Here’s Humphrey followed by chat show In Melbourne Today, hosted by Ernie Sigley and Denise Drysdale. Ten has the national Til Ten program with Joan McInnes, followed by Mulligrubs, Ten Morning News and then Another World marks the beginning of the daily run of US soaps.

After Eleven AM, Seven’s midday movie is Finnegan Begin Again from 1984, starring Mary Tyler Moore, up against Midday With Ray Martin (Nine) and Ten’s soap double Santa Barbara and The Bold And The Beautiful. SBS begins its broadcast day with the Russian news bulletin, Vremya, then goes back to test pattern until its children’s shows kick in later in the afternoon.

Ten’s afternoon includes US talk show Donahue (Ten), then re-runs of The Rockford Files and Gimme A Break — while Nine’s Days Of Our Lives and The Young And The Restless keep the soap suds flowing.

After school shows include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Now You See It on Seven, Mr Merlin and The Bugs Bunny Show on Nine and Double Dare, Charles In Charge and Candid Camera on Ten.

The 6.00pm hour starts off with news bulletins on all of Seven, Nine and Ten, while ABC caters for music fans with Countdown Revolution and SBS has Dutch sitcom Say Aah before Mary Kostakidis and World News.

Seven then goes to Home And Away at 6.30pm, avoiding a clash with Ten’s Neighbours at 7.00pm, before going into current affairs with Hinch, which in turn dodges a clash with A Current Affair (Nine).

The Flying Doctors (Nine) and E Street (Ten) provide more Australian drama while Seven’s comedy hour includes Hey Dad! and Full House.

shadowsoftheheart_0001The 1990 AFI Awards are presented at the World Congress Centre, Melbourne, with a 90-minute telecast on ABC. Seven and Nine have both slotted movie re-runs at 8.30pm, while Ten presents the final chapter of mini-series Shadows Of The Heart, starring Jerome Ehlers, Josephine Byrnes and Marcus Graham (pictured).

Couchman and Lateline present late news and discussion on ABC, while Tonight Live With Steve Vizard (Seven) presents variety and Robbo’s The World Tonight (Nine) gives a unique take on the news. Ten has a five-minute late news break before going into a repeat of Prisoner. Ten then crosses to Newswatch — overnight coverage of news from CNN — which takes them through to Good Morning Australia.

ABC shuts down by midnight, while SBS has a late movie from Vietnam before it signs off just after 1.00am. Seven’s relay of Today from NBC is followed by Unsolved Mysteries, Rituals, Generations, Singles, Trial By Jury and Ocean Quest.

Nine’s overnight movies include La Cage Aux Folles III from 1986 and The Happy Time from 1952, before Dukes Of Hazzard and The Young Doctors take us through to daybreak.


(click to enlarge)

Source: Sunday Sun TV Extra, 7 October 1990.

  • Don’t forget, there are over 400 classic TV listings archived here.



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/on-tv-10-october-1990-melbourne.html

Oct 08 2014

1994: October 8-14

tvweek_081094Cover: Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark The New Adventures Of Superman)

Seven scores Logies coup
The Seven Network has won the rights to the 1995 TV Week Logie Awards. “The Seven Network is delighted to be a part of TV Week‘s 37th Logies presentation,” Seven’s managing director Bob Campbell said. “The Logies are the industry’s longest-running awards and the full resources of the network will be thrown behind 1995’s event to ensure a fabulous night, coupled with a mighty ratings success.” It will be the third time that Seven has hosted the Logies presentation. The date and venue for the 37th annual TV Week Logie Awards will be announced at a later date.

A long way from home videos
As Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show nears the end of production for the year, host Jo Beth Taylor will be heading to Africa to take part in a TV special for aid organisation World Vision. Accompanied only by a small film crew, Taylor will spend two weeks traveling across Africa to look at some of the problems and hardships being faced in the region. “The documentary is really about all the different projects World Vision is involved in,” she told TV Week. “I don’t know when it will be screened, but this is something I really believe in.”

paulineterrybeitzWhy Pauline jumped at Janus
When Pauline Terry-Beitz heard ABC was casting for new courtroom series Janus, she couldn’t believe the coincidence. Janus was the name of the a theatre company she ran in Adelaide a decade ago, and she was now wanting to make a move into television. “I’ve been the artistic director for a couple of theatre companies in Adelaide,” she told TV Week. “One of them was called Janus and that was part of the reason I thought I should send off my resume.” Unknowingly, she had also been preparing for her role of criminal matriarch Shirl Hennessey (pictured) by spending four years as a teacher at a women’s prison. “There were a lot of interesting characters, some of whom I’ve been able to take elements of for Shirl because she’s not an easy character to research.” Janus marks Terry-Beitz’s television debut. “I’d wanted to work in television but, being based in South Australia, there isn’t a lot happening, and I hadn’t reached a point in my life where I felt it right to make a move into another state. When this came up, it was the right time… I’m very fortunate to come into TV in something as strong as Janus.”

‘God just made me a bit differently’
GP star and Logie-winner, teenager Tracie Sammut is taking on a new challenge — having been chosen in the NSW Special Olympics team to compete in the National Games in Perth. And she hopes to represent Australia in the International Disabled Olympics in Kentucky, USA, in 1995. “I really love acting, but my heart is set on becoming a gymnast,” she told TV Week.  Sammut, who has Down’s syndrome, has a positive outlook on life. “I’m Down’s syndrome. I don’t see myself as having a disability. God just made me a bit differently.” As well as her acting and gymnastic pursuits, she is also taking a deportment course and reading a book on strengthening relationships.


  • Every year, rumours of a 5.00pm “national news” seems to surface at Network Ten and this year is no exception. The word is that while Ten’s head of news and current affairs, Carmel Travers, was visiting the Los Angeles news bureau, she had talks with US correspondent Andrew Warne about the possibility of him returning to Australia to anchor a national 5.00pm news bulletin in 1995.
  • Anne Tenney, best known as Molly Jones in A Country Practice, is returning to TV as the older lover of fireman Banjo (Aaron Jeffrey) in Seven‘s new series Fire.
  • Former Paradise Beach star Ingo Rademacher has been called back for a third audition for US series Models Inc. The new show’s poor ratings in the US have led to speculation that much of the existing male cast, including Aussie Cameron Daddo, could be written out.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“We have managed to increase the number of pages in TV Week, add some new features and make some attractive offers without having to increase our cover price. In this day and age, I can tell you, that has not been easy. We believe we now have a really worthwhile package to offer for only $2, although the direction in which we’re steering your vessel has been questioned from a few quarters. As I have remarked here before, our aim at TV Week is to please all of the people all of the time. We realise it’s impossible, but we are committed to keep on trying nevertheless.”

TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 18 September): 

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 Just Kidding Nine Tue 2295000
2 60 Minutes Nine Sun 2097000
3 Money Nine Wed 2082000
4 Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show Nine Tue 2026000
5 Our House Nine Wed 1958000
6 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1857000
7 Lois & Clark The New Adventures Of Superman Seven Mon 1840000
8 Getaway Nine Thu 1805000
9 National Nine News Nine M-F 1716000
10 Ray Martin Presents… Olivia Newton-John Nine Thu 1684000
11 Married With Children Nine Tue 1653000
12 Sale Of The Century Nine M-F 1578000
13 Hangin’ With Mr Cooper Seven Thu 1577000
14 Home Improvement Seven Wed 1558000
15 Home Improvement Seven Sun 1538000
16 Blue Heelers Seven Tue 1528000
17 National Nine News Nine Sun 1518000
18 National Nine News Nine Sat 1516000
19 Burke’s Backyard Nine Fri 1502000
20 Seven Nightly News Seven Sun 1499000

Program Highlights (Melbourne, October 8-14):
Saturday: In A Country Practice (5.30pm, Ten), Jess (Jane Hall) and Harry (Andrew Blackman) are on the edge of romance. Ken Shorter stars in the Australian cult biker movie Stone (9.30pm, SBS).

Sunday: The summer of cricket begins with the Mercantile Mutual Cup (11am, Nine), Queensland versus Tasmania. Sandy Roberts and Allan Stone host live coverage of the final of the Australian Indoor Tennis Championships (1.30pm, Seven), live from the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Sunday night movies are Switch (repeat, Seven), Patriot Games (Nine) and Unlawful Entry (Ten). The European 500cc and 250cc Motorcycling Grand Prix (11pm, Nine) is telecast from Barcelona.

Monday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Malcolm (Benjie McNair) decides to face up to his actions and apologise to Lou (Tom Oliver) for the shooting accident, and Philip’s (Ian Rawlings) drinking gets him into trouble. In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), overcome with emotion, Shane (Dieter Brummer) finally comes to terms with his father’s death. Actor Bill Hunter guest stars in the comedy series Three Men And A Baby Grand (9.30pm, ABC).

Tuesday: In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), when a drug raid goes wrong, suspicion is rife among the Blue Heelers as to whose fault it was, while Adam (Damian Walshe-Howling) has a hard time believing that his friend Melissa (Alex Schepisi) is stealing from the bar till.

Wednesday: In Wedlocked (8pm, Seven), after the death of his best friend, Chris (Brandon Burke) questions the meaning of life. Five-part documentary series The Liberals — Fifty Years Of The Federal Party debuts (8.30pm, ABC). SBS documentary Dream House (8.30pm) looks at the experiences of two Chinese students studying in Australia. In telemovie The Feds: Obsession (8.30pm, Nine), when the wife of a family court judge is the victim of a crazed bomber, the Feds swing into action — however, the culprit is much closer than the team realises.

Thursday: Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten) looks at a sleep-inducing hormone which may hold the key to curing insomnia. Comedy special Big Girl’s Blouse (9.30pm, Seven) features new sketches from former Fast Forward stars Jane Turner, Gina Riley and Magda Szubanski.

angelapunchmcgregorFriday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), despite Ros’ (Angela Punch-McGregor, pictured) reconciliation attempts with Shane (Dieter Brummer), he refuses to forgive his mother. In The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), guest reporter Ann-Maree Biggar goes on a sapphire hunt not far from the NSW town of Inverell, and Bridget Adams discovers that Cape Byron is a great place to whale watch.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 8 October 1994. Southdown Press




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/1994-october-8-14.html

Oct 07 2014

40 years of colour TV

colourtvIt was 40 years today that Australian TV (finally…!) began to colour our world.

The wait for colour was a long one for Australia. The United States and Canada made the transition to colour from the mid-1960s, and the United Kingdom started the conversion to colour TV from 1967. Many European countries followed in 1968.

Even New Zealand viewers were able to see Queen Elizabeth II open the Sydney Opera House in colour in October 1973.

colourtv_0008But for much of the 1960s and early 1970s, Australians were left with just speculation as to when colour TV might finally arrive.

Some tentative steps were made in 1964 when ATV0, the channel that had just launched in Melbourne, had conducted some experimental colour transmissions prior to receiving permission from the broadcasting authorities. The tests consisted of a colour test pattern for durations of between five and fifteen minutes in the early hours of the morning on an almost daily basis for about three months.

colourtv_0009The channel was keen to experiment with colour, in particular because films and many imported shows from the US had started to be made in colour.

The Australian Broadcasting Control Board (ABCB) then ruled that no further transmissions were to take place pending the formation of standards for colour television in Australia.


ATV0 and the ABCB did eventually agree on a trial of colour television. In June 1967 the station covered a country horse racing event in colour — making it the first “live” colour program on Australian TV. The colour broadcast was not transmitted to the public but was able to be viewed on closed circuit monitors located at the ATV0 studios in Nunawading. Station executives, government representatives and members of the press were invited to view the colour pictures.

TV Times reporter Fred Robertson was impressed:

“It did not take long to realise the impact that colour television is going to have on Australia when it is introduced. People will return to the old routine of watching everything and anything that the channels put on the screen.”

Some TV executives were making bold predictions that Australian TV would be in colour by 1 January 1970. Even the technically conservative ABC was weighing into the debate. “Whether the Government is aware of it or not — the great colour race is on,” one ABC representative told TV Week in April 1967. “You can forget predictions that colour TV is many years away.” Bruce Gyngell, manager of TCN9, responded that, with colour equipment on order that would enable them to broadcast colour film, “It would be possible for TCN9 to make colour test transmissions in 18 months.”

TV stations across the country also went ahead with their colour tests and demonstrations, including HSV7‘s closed circuit demonstration at the Royal Melbourne Show in 1968:

YouTube: aussiebeachut0

Canberra station CTC7 also displayed colour television in a shopping centre demonstration over ten days in September 1969.

ABC had already started filming major sporting events and some documentaries in colour for archival purposes and potential export. The Government, however, was maintaining its slow and steady approach — with Postmaster-General Alan Hulme insisting that the transition to colour was not going to be a rush job, taking into account the long term investment by government, industry and viewers on new equipment.

ATV0 then embarked on what was the largest colour TV project to date — covering the Australian tour of the Billy Graham Crusade. ATV0, in association with Glen Warren Productions of North America, produced four one-hour programs from Graham’s Melbourne appearances which would be syndicated to 600 stations, covering approximately 50 million viewers, across the United States. More than $1 million of equipment was freighted to Australia for the production, including cameras on loan from a Canadian TV station, CFTO9.

In February 1969, the Federal Government announced that after years of consideration — and fierce lobbying by equipment manufacturers from all sides — Australia would adopt the German PAL colour TV standard as opposed to the American NTSC and French SECAM systems. PAL was found to provide a better quality and definition of picture and was compatible with both VHF and UHF bands — although at that time television in Australia was exclusively VHF. Engineers also found that PAL was better suited to rugged terrain areas like those in many Australian cities and country areas. PAL had also been adopted in the United Kingdom and various other European countries.

Although the PAL system had been chosen, government and industry still had another 18 months or so ahead of them for testing and to settle on specific Australian standards — and with the Government’s commitment that manufacturers would get at least 18 months between the announcement of a conversion date and the date itself, Australians looked set to get colour TV possibly by around 1973.

theroversBut even though Australia was still waiting on a conversion date, independent production companies had already taken steps towards ongoing colour production. Programs like Skippy, Barrier Reef and The Rovers (pictured) in the 1960s and Homicide, Ryan, Boney and Spyforce from the early 1970s, all produced on film, were being made in colour in advance of the colour TV conversion, with a view to potential sales to countries where colour was already in place.

colourtv_00017Three years after the government decided on adopting the PAL standard, Prime Minister William McMahon finally announced on 15 February 1972 that Australian TV would be switching to full-time colour transmission from Saturday 1 March 1975 — “C-Day”.

The announcement came with predictions that colour TV sets would likely retail for around $700 (in 1972 dollars). The conversion was predicted to cost ABC around $46 million over six years with the commercial sector expected to spend around $70 million to upgrade studios and transmitters — although some stations had already invested in colour-based equipment. A spokesperson for Sydney’s ATN7 said in 1972 that the station already had a colour-ready transmitter plus videotape machines that were colour compatible. ATN had expected its overall conversion bill to be no more than $700,000.

Melbourne’s HSV7 had already converted its transmitter for colour by 1972 and was ready to commence the phase-in of colour production. In March 1972, GTV9 produced a special series, International Opportunity Knocks, a talent quest to find an Australian contestant to compete in the long-running UK series, Opportunity Knocks. The contest final was produced at the GTV9 studios in colour and broadcast in the UK a few days later.

Len Mauger (pictured), formerly of ATV0 but by this stage the manager of Australian Consolidated Press which controlled TCN9 Sydney and GTV9 Melbourne, said that despite the channels being well advanced in conversion he expected the full three-year advance period would be necessary. “Even now in Sydney there are areas where good reception is impossible on all four channels. Good reception is vital to good colour,” he told TV Times. “The three-year period will allow us to experiment and perfect our transmission equipment, and manufacturers to improve their aerials to ensure the kind of colour reception that will justify the expense.”

With over 130 transmitters scattered across the country, ABC in 1972 expected that it would have capital city studios and equipment such as videotape machines, microwave links and transmitters all converted for colour by 1 March 1975. The roll-out of colour conversion to regional sites was then expected to take a further three years.

By 1974 colour conversion was in full swing with capital city stations making the final conversions to studio equipment and commencing regular colour TV production. The Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations (FACTS) had proposed that the Government bring forward the conversion date to 1 July 1974 but this was denied — with the Broadcasting Control Board maintaining that test transmissions in colour would be allowed to commence in October 1974 with C-Day still to be on 1 March 1975.

TCN9_colourMonday, 7 October 1974, saw the commencement of regular colour test pattern transmission (such as TCN9’s, pictured). This was at first limited to only a maximum of a couple of hours a day, to enable broadcasters the opportunity to fine tune or test their equipment and for TV retailers to put colour TV sets on display.

Two weeks later, 19 October 1974, saw the colour tests expanded to allow sports coverage — but still limited to only a couple of hours a day to a maximum of four hours a week. Hence, viewers could be watching a tennis match or golf or the afternoon horse racing but only be able to see a portion of it in colour.


TV Week, 14 December 1974

9_news_colorThe tests were later expanded to allow full sports coverage plus other program material in colour such as news bulletins, special events, movies and selected episodes of general programming.

ABC’s new pop music show, Countdown, made its debut in November as a half-hour show on a Friday night — produced and broadcast in colour. ATV0’s annual telethon for the Nerve Deafness foundation was renamed Colorthon, with six of its scheduled 26-and-a-half hours broadcast in colour.

Viewers were treated to colour broadcasts of the Showcase talent quest finals and the Miss Australia Quest.

Christmas saw Carols By Candlelight and Bobby Limb’s Sound Of Christmas broadcast in colour, as well as the ABC’s via satellite coverage of the opening ceremony of the Holy Year, followed by midnight mass from the Vatican.

The changeover period also saw networks ramp up their promotional efforts. ABC had ‘tweaked’ its logo to be bolder and to incorporate colour designs, and also unveiled some cheeky new station idents.

The Seven Network also unveiled a modernised logo featuring the rainbow colours, while Nine added colour to its existing logo. Meanwhile, new slogans started appearing around the networks — including “First In Color”, “Living Color”, “Color Your World” and “Come Home To Colour”. (Australian commercial networks insisted on the American spelling of “color”, while ABC maintained its spelling as “colour”)

ABC_1975_0002 hsv7_colour
9_livingcolor_0001 TEN10_colour_1974

Finally, after months of test transmission, C-Day finally arrived on 1 March 1975. The week leading up to the final changeover saw networks imposed a restriction that no prime time programming was to be in colour until C-Day, but daytime tests were still allowed.

At 12.00am, 1 March 1975, Australian television finally burst into full, unrestricted colour. Because networks, as they are now, didn’t exist in the Seventies it was up to individual stations to determine how they would mark the event. Some channels stayed on the air all night for the occasion with a range of colour specials and movies. For some channels, particularly regionals, it was “business as usual” with transmission ceased overnight and in some cases not resuming until late afternoon. ABC probably made the most significant effort in the launch of C-Day, starting with a five minute sketch featuring the cast of comedy series Aunty Jack — with Aunty Jack (Graeme Bond) armed with a tin of “colour remover” to fruitlessly resist the incoming flood of colour:

YouTube: National Archives of Australia

johnfarnham_0002The sketch was then followed by a one-hour edition of Countdown, introduced by Johnny Farnham (pictured) and featuring an all-Australian line-up of performances. ABC’s special overnight transmission continued with an episode of the British series Monty Python’s Flying Circus followed by a replay of a world championship tennis match from 1973.

ABC’s C-Day daytime line-up included special children’s programs and seven hours of sports coverage. Prime time was highlighted by the variety special Colour It Music from the Sydney Opera House and including performances by Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, the Australian Ballet, Claire Poole Singers, Judy Stone, Darryl Braithwaite, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Later in the evening the half-hour special The ABC Of It looked at 24 hours in the life of the ABC, encompassing radio and television operations as well as crosses to international bureaus in London, Tokyo, Jakarta and New York.

Even though the ABC had proposed a three-year schedule to roll-out colour transmission to all regional sites, it had managed to complete the transition by 1976. Only three commercial stations were reported to have missed the C-Day deadline — the most significant being NTD8, Darwin, which was off the air for ten months following Cyclone Tracy destroying much of the city at Christmas, 1974.

Earlier predictions that Australians would be slow in adopting colour TV, as had been the experience in the UK and US, were found to be way off the mark. Approximately 2.5 per cent of homes were reported to have converted to colour TV in time for “C-Day”, but by July 1976 an estimated 17 per cent of households had made the switch. This number would shoot up to 60 per cent by the end of 1977. Australia went on to complete one of the fastest changeovers to colour TV anywhere in the world.

But early adopters of colour TV were warned about buying a set that may not allow for future requirements — in particular the advent of UHF television in Australia which was due to occur anytime from the late 1970s. Early colour sets had either VHF-only (Channels 0 to 11) controls or dual VHF-UHF tuners. The policy was that after 1976 all colour TV tuners sold in Australia were required to have both VHF and UHF capability, or at least the capacity to have a UHF tuner added.


The advent of colour also marked a shift in the scheduling of re-runs. Black-and-white programs that had been circulating in re-runs were suddenly being frowned upon, and as a result short-sighted TV networks (around the world, not just in Australia) discarded swathes of black-and-white programs from their archives as they were deemed to not be of any further use or market value. Very few predicted the future potential for re-runs or merchandising — and nobody was to predict the development and growth of new technologies such as home video, pay TV and the internet that would breed an appetite for such classic material.

Source: TV Times, 13 January 1965. TV Times, 28 June 1967. Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 1968. The Age, 28 February 1969. TV Times, 12 March 1969. Canberra Times, 3 September 1969. TV Times, 26 February 1972. TV Times, 18 March 1972. The Australian Women’s Weekly, 23 October 1974. TV Week, 14 December 1974. Choice, January 1975. TV Times, 22 February 1975. TV Week, 1 March 1975. Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 1976. Canberra Times, 28 October 1977. Classic Australian TV.

YouTube: aussiebeachut0, National Archives Of Australia


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/40-years-of-colour-tv.html

Oct 06 2014

Melbourne’s C31 turns 20

c31_1994Melbourne and Geelong’s community TV station C31 turns 20 years old today (Monday).

Channel 31, as it was then, was launched by the Melbourne Community Television Consortium (MCTC) on Thursday, 6 October 1994. Formed in 1991, the MCTC was a group of eight existing community television groups, some of which had already conducted low-powered test transmissions of their own. These groups were to cover either their local geographic areas or specific demographic groups, such as the Asian, student or gay and lesbian communities.

In March 1993 the consortium was allowed a Melbourne-wide temporary broadcasting licence similar to those in other capital cities.

Although MCTC had launched on 6 October the station had commenced test transmissions on 23 August from a transmitter installed on the ABC-SBS tower at Mount Dandenong. The purchase of the transmitter had been made with the assistance of sponsor Harness Racing Victoria and test transmissions soon extended to live coverage of the Saturday night harness racing ahead of the station’s October launch.

The launch on 6 October saw the station extend programming to five nights a week — regular programming Monday to Thursday and the racing on Saturdays — with programming scheduled for around 4 to 5 hours a night. Of the participating members of the MCTC, student-based RMITV provided the majority of programming for the new station as it was the only consortium member to have a full working studio. This also allowed the broadcast of live-to-air productions.

Early programs on Channel 31 included RMITV’s weekly news program Newsline, current affairs program Inside News, variety show Under Melbourne Tonight, sports show Balls ‘N All, sitcom Laugh You Bastards and arts magazine The Move. Consortium member Bent TV, representing the queer communities, produced a gay dating show, In Your Dreams, magazine show Bent-O-Rama and movie review program In Between The Sprockets.

Eastern suburbs group ERA contributed a weekly drama series Best Years Of Our Lives and comedies The Ninth Day and Just A Bum.

Other early programs included Media Blitz, The Generic Gourmet, SKA Access News, talk shows Citizen Kain and NAT Chat, music programs Metal Vision, Hitz FM and Rhythm Nation and magazine-comedy show Richmond 3121-Oh.

Programming eventually expanded to seven nights a week and from March 2001 extended to daytime with the launch of a daily eight-hour programming block — comprising both new and vintage programming aimed at the over-55 age group.

C31_MelbC31, as it later became, extended to 24 hour transmission in 2004.

C31 has given exposure and experience to talent, both in front and behind the cameras, that have gone on to careers in mainstream media. Rove McManus has been the station’s most celebrated graduate but others have included Hamish and Andy, Corinne Grant, Dave Thornton, Tommy Little, Nazeem Hussain, Gorgi Coghlan and Waleed Aly. The station has also led initiatives such as the Antenna Awards, celebrating and recognising the contribution made by community TV programs and producers nationally.

The Marngrook Footy Show was later picked up by ABC2 and is now on SBS channel NITV. Movie-themed comedy show The Bazura Project was also picked up by ABC2. Gardening show Vasili’s Garden produced a series for SBS, while Blokesworld was picked up by Network Ten.

The station was allocated a permanent broadcasting licence in 2004 but like other community broadcasters had not been allowed to broadcast in digital, while commercial and national broadcasters were given free access to digital spectrum to allow simulcast with their analogue broadcasts.

After a lengthy campaign by the community TV sector, the then Labor Government finally gave the sector access to digital broadcasting in 2009, but only on a five-year basis, utilising unused broadcasting spectrum. This temporary access to digital broadcasting has been extended by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but only until the end of 2015. The Minister feels that despite C31 alone producing 90 unique programs each week, community TV has nothing to contribute to media diversity, education, talent or employment, and has decided on everyone’s behalf that it is best for all concerned that community TV relinquish the “television” model and embrace an audience-restrictive online-only presence — something that will affect the sector’s ability to attract viewers and maintain sponsors to make them sustainable. The Minister’s decision will allow the broadcasting bandwidth currently being used by community TV to be re-allocated to other uses which may include use by the commercial sector, who currently see fit to supplement their main channels with multiple shopping channels that provide little or no media diversity, education, talent or employment.

Given that the broadcast television industry had taken over a decade to migrate from analogue to digital, with mainstream broadcasters gaining considerable financial and infrastructure assistance from the government during that time, it is not clear how community TV and its audience — in C31’s case an estimated one million viewers each month — are to be supported in making the move online in the space of little over a year.

Both the sector and the wider community are fighting the government plan to have community TV shunted off the airwaves. The ‘Commit To Community TV’ campaign is at http://i.committocommunitytv.org.au/

c31_20yearsC31 will be celebrating its 20th birthday with a two-part special, 20 Years Of C31, beginning Monday 6 October at 7.30pm and hosted by Stephen Hall (Under Melbourne Tonight), Emma Race (The Breakfast Show), Caitlin Jolly (Destination 90s), Anthony McCormack (Naughty Rude Show, 31 Questions) and Isabelle Hayler (1700). This will be followed by documentary Behind The Antennas at 8.30pm and a repeat of last week’s Antenna Awards at 9.00pm.

The second instalment of 20 Years Of C31 airs Monday 13 October.

Source: Herald Sun, 5 October 1994. C31. MCTC Limited, Sydney Morning Herald.




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/melbournes-c31-turns-20.html

Oct 05 2014

Obituary: Terence Gallacher

terencegallacherTerence Gallacher, one of the pioneers of production in Melbourne television, has died at the age of 85.

Educated in London, Gallacher began his career as an office boy at British Movietone News in 1945. He worked his way up to the position of Foreign Editor and had been involved in preparing news film for BBC‘s early TV news bulletins.

He came to Australia in 1956 and was appointed Senior Film Editor for GTV9 prior to its official launch in 1957. His experience working with film and television in the UK was integral in setting up GTV9’s fledgling film unit and presentation of news bulletins. In those early days his work day would start at 9.00am, collecting newsreels that had arrived from overseas, and would still be at the station when its late news was winding up at around 11.00pm.

Gallacher was later approached to join the ABC as Supervising Film Editor at ABV2 and was involved in directing and producing programs, including the 1960 documentary Operation Crowflight, the first documentary film ever broadcast about the U2 aircraft and its mission in Australia. The program was later broadcast in the United Kingdom.

He returned to British Movietone News in 1961 and later spent 20 years at United Press Movietone Television (UPITN/WTN).

Since his retirement Gallacher, at home in France, had been documenting his many stories and experiences from over 50 years in production via a blog — writing more than 350 articles — and a series of podcasts related to his years at Movietone News. The blog led to him making contact with many of his former Melbourne colleagues of 50 years ago.

He had also recorded a long interview for the National Film and Sound Archive‘s oral history project.

Source: Terence Gallacher




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/obituary-terence-gallacher.html

Oct 04 2014

Neighbours’ 20 years of Kennedys

neighbours_kennedysLast night’s episode of Neighbours paid tribute to Karl and Susan Kennedy (Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne) as they looked back over the 20 years since moving into Ramsay Street.

The Kennedys — Karl and Susan with children Malcolm (Benjie McNair), Libby (Kym Valentine) and Billy (Jesse Spencer) — moved in to 28 Ramsay Street, the house previously occupied by the Willis family, making their first appearance on 3 October 1994.

The children have long moved out, and Karl and Susan have had their stormy times — including Karl’s infidelities, the couple divorcing and Susan going on to marry Alex Kinski (Andrew Clarke) — but have always ended up back together and have long been the backbone of Ramsay Street.

Karl has remained the constant face of the medical profession for Ramsay Street residents, while Susan has been a second mother to many of the younger passers by through Ramsay Street, always ready to offer a shoulder to cry on and to share some maternal pearls of wisdom. More recently she added life saver to her list of credits by performing an emergency tracheotomy on a choking Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver) during Erinsborough’s recent tornado.

Last night’s episode — 6985 — sees the couple contemplate a move overseas to be with their son Malcolm, who has made a brief return to number 28 to say he’s about to become a dad. The episode leads us through many of the various dramatic, and not so dramatic, storylines that have followed Karl and Susan’s lives over the past 20 years.

neighbours_kennedys_0001The episode’s last scene brings together Neighbours stalwarts ‘Toadie’ (Ryan Moloney), Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis), Lou, Karl and Susan — as the pair announce that they won’t be leaving Ramsay Street after all.

Neighbours, the flagship of Network Ten‘s channel Eleven, is approaching its 7000th episode and celebrates its 30th anniversary next March.

Source: TenPlay, PerfectBlend



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/neighbours-20-years-of-kennedys.html

Oct 02 2014

On TV: 2 October 1980, Sydney.

shirlsneighbourhoodOne of the most visited and commented on sections of this site is the Classic TV Guides. There are now something like 400 listings archived there, dating back to the early days of TV and covering some of the significant moments and milestones in our TV history.

In more recent times I’ve been posting random samples of printed TV guides onto Twitter (@TelevisionAU) which have also often been well received and generate some discussion within the 140-character confines of Twitter.

Now let’s take both of the above elements and see how they work in a blog environment which also allows a more comprehensive analysis of what was on.

First cab off the rank is the listing for Thursday 2 October 1980 for Sydney as published in the pages of TV Scene, which was predominantly a Melbourne-based publication but appears to have also printed a Sydney edition for a time in the early 1980s.


(click to enlarge)

Early morning TV was dominated by kids programs and cartoons. It seems the only place for news before midday was Seven’s Eleven AM, and a 5-minute update from Nine at 11.55am.

ABC had its usual schools programs in the mid-morning, while Maureen Duval hosted Good Morning Sydney for Ten.

Two midday movies were on offer — Seven’s The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight from 1971, up against Ten’s 1969 Australian offering The Set.

The Set, starring Sean McEuan, Rod Mullinar and Gold Logie winner Hazel Phillips, told the story of a young man who goes to Sydney to start a new life after his girlfriend goes overseas. What follows is a tale of the various relationships among “the set” — the upper-class clique of Sydney which includes students, designers and artists — including a homosexual relationship between the young man, Paul (McEuan) and student Tony (Mullinar) plus an extra-marital affair for bored housewife Peggy (Phillips) with artist Mark (Denis Doonan).

Pretty racy stuff for a midday movie… at least the kids were at school. Ten toned things down a little afterwards with the 1948 film Two Guys From Texas at 1.50pm.

Nine had its successful variety show The Mike Walsh Show at midday, surrounded by US soaps Another World (at a staggering 90-minutes an episode), Days Of Our Lives, The Young And The Restless, General Hospital and Search For Tomorrow.

Children’s shows in the 4.00pm “C”-classification timeslot included Shirl’s Neighbourhood (pictured above) and British series The Tomorrow People (Seven), Skippy The Bush Kangaroo (Nine) and Simon Townsend’s Wonder World and Studio Ten (Ten). ABC had the pre-schoolers covered with Play School and Sesame Street.

The 5.00pm hour is dominated by classic sitcoms and cartoons — The Road Runner Show and Get Smart (Seven), Scooby Doo (Nine) and Gilligan’s Island and Hogan’s Heroes (Ten). ABC continues the re-run theme going after 6.00pm with the five-minute Laff-A-Bits (re-purposed silent films), ’60s comedy series The Ghost And Mrs Muir and perennial favourite Doctor Who.

Seven and Ten both have an hour of news from 6.00pm, while Nine’s 6.30pm news is preceded by soap The Young Doctors.

saleofthecentury_0002The crucial 7.00pm timeslot is a battle between current affairs Willesee At Seven, quiz show Sale Of The Century (with Tony Barber and Victoria Nicolls, pictured), ABC News and a re-run of MASH.

Crawford Productions are doing plenty for the night’s line-up, with The Sullivans on Nine followed by Seven’s drama double of Cop Shop and Skyways.

Ten’s Thursday night movie is a repeat of the 1972 comedy What’s Up Doc?, starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal.

The Don Lane Show (Nine) and John Singleton (Ten) provide the late-evening variety, while Newsnight (Seven) has Sydney’s only late night news bulletin.

Late night movies date back to the 1930s with George Burns in College Swing (Seven), while Nine’s mid-dawn movie line-up goes back to the 1950s with Great Day In The Morning, Tension At Table Rock and The Planter’s Wife.

A repeat of ’70s soap Number 96 and the five-minute epilogue Something To Sing About cap off Ten’s night before close down.

Source: Scene (Sydney edition), 27 September 1980. Australian Screen



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/on-tv-2-october-1980-sydney.html

Oct 01 2014

Television.AU October Update

election_1975Some updates of new Classic TV Guides and reminders of some blog posts that appeared during September










pattihumphrey_0001A reminder of some of the blog posts that appeared during September



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/10/television-au-october-update.html

Sep 29 2014

1994: October 1-7

tvweek_011094Silver Sofie’s golden opportunity
Sofie Formica (pictured) has only just started her new role as co-host of Just Kidding for the Nine Network, but she is already looking at long term ambitions. “I have totally itchy feet,” she told TV Week. “That’s why I’ve done so many shows, because I could think of nothing worse than doing the same show year in, year out. That may change as I get older, but at the moment I’m always thinking about the next project.” Just Kidding is Formica’s first project for the Nine Network since leaving Seven, where she had appeared on Saturday Disney, Now You See It, The Great Outdoors and Home And Away. “Home And Away was great, because the character I played was so unlike me that no-one could compare me to her in a million years.” She is keen to pursue production opportunities in the longer term. “I want to leave being in front of the camera before it leaves me. I’ll stay in front as long as I can, but you have to realise in this business when to move.”

Young guns hit Ramsay Street
The arrival of the Kennedy family into Neighbours‘ Ramsay Street is set to bring in some new talent. Benjie McNair, Kym Valentine and Jesse Spencer make up the younger generation Kennedys. McNair plays eldest son Malcolm who gets into some early trouble when he accidentally puts a bullet into Lou Carpenter’s (Tom Oliver) leg. McNair has had guest roles in GP and Home And Away and was given three days notice to pack his bags to move from Sydney to Melbourne for the Neighbours role. Valentine’s arrival into Neighbours reunites her with former My Two Wives co-star Brett Blewitt.

Good cop, bad cop!
Fans of Gary Sweet who are used to seeing him as good-guy cop Sgt Mickey McLintock in ABC‘s Police Rescue may be shocked to find a stark contrast with his latest role. In the new series of Seven‘s Cody telemovies, Sweet admits that the character of rebel cop Cody may not be entirely likeable. “I don’t think people have to like him,” Sweet told TV Week. “As an actor I just want people to react to him — that doesn’t mean liking him. Mickey is such a gregarious and affable bloke so it’s great to play someone like Cody who has a bit of a dark past and someone who is a bit dangerous.” The first of three Cody telemovies screens this week — co-starring Robert Mammone and Heather Mitchell. Sweet is already onto filming a new series of Police Rescue and is committed to further Cody telemovies next year.


  • The Nine Network has denied rumours that it is working on a new sketch comedy series for 1995 but sources claim that producer Chris Fife is at the helm of the pilot which is due to be produced shortly. “It’s a pilot for a new sketch comedy and they’re hoping it’ll develop into a prime-time show for next year,” TV Week was told.
  • Actor Marcus Eyre has a string of acting credits to his name but is probably most famous now as the cola-guzzling, chain-smoking editor Hugh Tabbagh in ABC‘s Frontline. “As a film editor, Hugh lives in a darkroom in the bowels of a building,” Eyre told TV Week. “I had to seek a lot of information about life as an editor before I started the role because I don’t come across editors very often myself. From the feedback I’ve been given, the whole show seems pretty close to what goes on in the real world of current affairs. I think the team behind Frontline has been very brave in tackling a show like it.” Eyre will soon appear on screen again in a very different role — as a cop in the Nine Network telemovie The Feds.
  • kellypummeroyTalk To The Animals reporter Kelly Pummeroy (pictured) has visited Emman Zoo in the Netherlands to film stories for a two-hour special episode to coincide with “Zootober” and World Animal Day (5 October). “Emman Zoo is like a garden full of animals,” she told TV Week. “There are no cages.” This is in contrast to London Zoo. “London is so archaic. A lot of the cages are National Trust buildings and can’t be changed because of their historical significance. But that’s not fair on the animals.”

TV’s Top 20 (Week Commencing 11 September):

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 Just Kidding Nine Tue 2065000
2 60 Minutes Nine Sun 1969000
3 Money Nine Wed 1813000
4 Our House Nine Wed 1770000
5 Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show Nine Tue 1768000
6 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1742000
7 Lois & Clark The New Adventures Of Superman Seven Mon 1718000
8 Home Improvement Seven Wed 1667000
9 Getaway Nine Thu 1612000
10 National Nine News Nine Sat 1592000
11 Hey Hey It’s Saturday Nine Sat 1574000
12 National Nine News Nine M-F 1548000
13 Sale Of The Century Nine M-F 1486000
14 Burke’s Backyard Nine Fri 1465000
15 Full Frontal Seven Thu 1457000
16 Healthy Wealthy And Wise Ten Mon 1445000
17 Blue Heelers Seven Tue 1442000
18 Hangin’ With Mr Cooper Seven Thu 1433000
19 Seven Nightly News Seven Sat 1385000
20 Seven Nightly News Seven M-F 1356000

Program Highlights (Melbourne, October 1-7):
Saturday: The AFL Grand Final (Seven) dominates the day — with the overnight Grand Final Football Marathon ending at 8am, followed by the Grand Final Breakfast (8am), the Juniors Grand Final (9am) and the VSFL Grand Final (11am) from the MCG. Bruce McAvaney heads the live coverage of the AFL Grand Final between Geelong and West Coast Eagles (2pm, Seven). Seven will have 25 cameras around the MCG to catch all the action, and the telecast is expected to be beamed to 60 countries.

Sunday: Race car driver Peter Brock is vying for his 10th win and a $100,000 bonus at Bathurst in this year’s Tooheys 1000 — with ten hours of coverage starting at 8am (Seven). Sofie Formica and Tina Thomsen host the Rock Eisteddfod (2pm, Nine). In Banjo Patterson’s Man From Snowy River, Anita Hargreaves (Victoria Tennant), an old love of Matt’s (Andrew Clarke), returns after 25 years. Sunday night movies are Cody — A Family Affair (Seven), Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (repeat, Nine) and To Dance With The White Dog (Ten).

Monday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Debbie (Marnie Reece-Wilmore) gets scared when she realises that she mentally blocked out the events of Julie’s (Julie Mullins) death. In Healthy Wealthy And Wise (7.30pm ,Ten), Lyn Talbot travels to Yerranderie, south west of the Blue Mountains; Iain Hewitson talks to the experts about different coffee equipment; Tonia Todman takes some arty inspiration from the bakehouse; and Ross Greenwood looks at how to turn disasters into dollars.

nicholashopeTuesday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Pippa (Debra Lawrance) and Michael’s (Dennis Coard) relationship is on rocky ground. In Blue Heelers (7.30pm, Seven), Tom (John Wood) is puzzled when he sees Father Leary (Nicholas Hope, pictured) talking to con artists Matthew (Ken James) and Nadia Balfour (Lynne Nicol), leading to suspicion that Leary may be involved with them. In GP (8.30pm, ABC), Julie (Denise Roberts) learns that her parish priest (Bob Baines) has been harbouring a guilty secret for 20 years. In Law Of The Land (9.30pm, Nine), a man convicted of wife bashing returns to town.

Wednesday: In Heartbreak High (7.30pm, Ten), Nick (Alex Dimitriades) and Effie (Despina Caldis) move in with the Bordinos, and Steve (Corey Page) is smitten with Lucy (Alexandra Brunning) and Danielle (Emma Roche) is jealous. In Wedlocked (8pm, Seven), after receiving a death threat, Ainslie Barton (Terry Gill) decides to move in with Chris (Brandon Burke) and Susie (Dina Panozzo).

Thursday: In Home And Away (7pm, Seven), Jack (Daniel Amalm) and Curtis (Shane Ammann) believe they have uncovered a revealing secret about Fisher (Norman Coburn). Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten) looks at the world’s first mobile decompression chamber, that can be transported by boat or helicopter. In Janus (8.30pm, ABC), Rob Griffin (Felix Nobis) takes on the prosecution of a man accused of sexually assaulting his nieces when they were children.

benjiemcnairFriday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), the Kennedy family think Malcolm (Benjie McNair, pictured) is a fool for playing with guns, after Lou (Tom Oliver) cops a bullet in the leg. In Rex Hunt’s The Great Outdoors (7.30pm, Seven), guest reporter Lee Kernaghan experiences the National Music Muster in Gympie, Ernie Dingo visits Milson Island, and Frankie J Holden shows a new pop-up camper trailer.

Source: TV Week (Melbourne edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 1 October 1994. Southdown Press


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/09/1994-october-1-7.html

Sep 26 2014

Studio 10 goes back to Romper Room

misshelenaMiss Helena, one of the many presenters on Romper Room over its long run and various versions in Australia, was this morning’s guest panellist on Network Ten‘s Studio 10.

In remembering Romper Room viewers were not only reminded that fellow guest panellist Dan Ilic had featured on the show as a child, but a young James Mathison was also in one episode.

Romper Room, first created in the US in 1953, was first franchised in Australia in the early 1960s. Various versions were produced, including from ATN7 Sydney and QTQ9 Brisbane. Another series, from SAS10 Adelaide, was also broadcast in Melbourne and ran for ten years — while Newcastle station NBN3 produced one of the few (if not only) regional versions.

The ATN7 franchise, which ended up going national through the Seven Network, continued until 1988. An estimated 32,000 children appeared on the show during its long run and as well as Miss Helena there were a number of other Miss Romper Rooms — including Miss Susan, Miss Patricia, Miss Judy, Miss Colleen and Miss Megan.


Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 21 February 1983. Forty Years Of Television, ATN7, 1996.
YouTube: Studio 10




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/09/studio-10-goes-back-to-romper-room.html

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